RSSAll Entries Tagged With: "margaret gray"

PROPERTIES OF SILENCE (CARRIE HAMILTON): 82% - SWEET

PROPERTIES OF SILENCE (CARRIE HAMILTON): 82% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The play’s dense, fertile symbolism, initially so promising, begins to feel hollow. Like so many dreams, it promises to teach us something but dissolves into a series of compelling but ultimately inconclusive images. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET Strong performances and an intriguing take on dreams makes this a worthwhile and interesting production. […]

AMERICAN BUFFALO (DEAF WEST): 94% - SWEET

AMERICAN BUFFALO (DEAF WEST): 94% – SWEET

SWEET Troy Kotsur, a deaf actor, plays Teacher, a fractious bully whose semi-coherent verbal harangues are the source of his catastrophic charisma. Under the direction of Stephen Rothman, Kotsur uses ASL to transform Mamet’s words into a visual symphony and this challenging character into a poignant figure of isolation. Margaret Gray – LA Times BITTERSWEET […]

ENTER LAUGHING - THE MUSICAL (THE WALLIS): 75% - BITTERSWEET

ENTER LAUGHING – THE MUSICAL (THE WALLIS): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET The jokes and the witty numbers (“The Butler’s Song” brings down the house) don’t feel quite big or splashy enough to distract us from the low stakes. Choreography (by director Ross) is minimal, perhaps because the sleek set by Evan A. Bartoletti, while fitting nicely in the intimate Lovelace Studio Theater, provides little elbow […]

THE MISSING PAGES OF LEWIS CARROLL: 71% - BITTERSWEET

THE MISSING PAGES OF LEWIS CARROLL: 71% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Playwright Lily Blau receives a strong mounting of her world premiere The Missing Pages of Lewis Carroll at the Theatre @ Boston Court. Director Abigail Deser glides her able cast through what Blau has imagined would be in the missing pages of author Lewis Carroll’s actual diaries. Gil Kaan – BroadwayWorld BITTERSWEET Cummins’ transit […]

TIMEPIECE: 100% - SWEET

TIMEPIECE: 100% – SWEET

SWEET This witty new absurdist comedy by playwright Duncombe helps laugh at our ultimately silly and illogical view of love, life, and death. Sarah A. Spitz – Santa Monica Daily Press SWEET If it can be a little sophomoric, the play betrays no discomfort with that whatever, capable of mocking its own preoccupations as much […]

SERRANO THE MUSICAL: 81% - SWEET

SERRANO THE MUSICAL: 81% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Running somewhere around two and three quarter hours (with intermission), this is an ambitious but uneven effort: perhaps worth a trip for the notable songs and some of the dancing and onstage talent, but badly in need of tidying, trimming and an upgrade on the book. Deborah Klugman – LA Weekly SWEET With all […]

THE WHIPPING MAN (SOUTH COAST REP/PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 82% - SWEET

THE WHIPPING MAN (SOUTH COAST REP/PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 82% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Although the story starts with a bang, the exposition required to catalog all of the exceptions and coincidences responsible for the incredible scenario soon bogs things down. Director Martin Benson and the three lively performers can’t quite succeed in keeping up the momentum. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET This multidimensional story about freedom, […]

ALMOST, MAINE (HUDSON MAINSTAGE): 100% - SWEET

ALMOST, MAINE (HUDSON MAINSTAGE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET Director Papazian serves up a slick and delectable series of comic turns, and he has assembled a cast of 18 accomplished actors for the occasion. All of them acquit themselves with charm and style. Neal Weaver – Stage Raw SWEET Play don’t get any more magical, nor any more unabashedly romantic (with just enough […]

TRAIN TO ZAKOPANE: 78% - SWEET

TRAIN TO ZAKOPANE: 78% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The script could stand a vigorous pruning, several performances are still wobbly and the set changes are noticeably time-consuming — yet this production, directed by Gary Imhoff, has promise. Margaret Gray – LA Times BITTERSWEET The most challenging performance is Frederick’s, whose abrupt shifts between Katia’s ugly outbursts of anti-Semitic bigotry and the more […]

KINKY BOOTS (PANTAGES THEATRE/SEGERSTROM CENTER): 86% - SWEET

KINKY BOOTS (PANTAGES THEATRE/SEGERSTROM CENTER): 86% – SWEET

SWEET Although I tend to be skeptical about the power of any garment to effect lasting spiritual change, all those stilettos evidently tenderized me to a pulp: I drove home beaming, filled with affection for the characters and all but convinced that wearing thigh-high red leather boots is the manliest thing a guy can do. […]

UPLOADED: 90% - SWEET

UPLOADED: 90% – SWEET

SWEET Gordon’s skewering of these three earnest, dopey Gen Y-ers is sharp and often quite witty. (One of Anikka’s several businesses is making “kombucha cozies for orthodox Jewish women.”) They’re so satirically drawn that it’s impossible to believe in them (or maybe I just didn’t want to), but somehow they’re still entertaining; and the far-fetched […]

ENRIQUE'S JOURNEY (ENCUENTRO 2014): 83% - SWEET

ENRIQUE’S JOURNEY (ENCUENTRO 2014): 83% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The script could be further trimmed: the opening takes up more time than it needs to and Enrique’s repeated hardships start to run together. For a story so grounded in grim realism, it has been given an unpersuasively upbeat ending. But Guerrero’s Enrique is a compelling, complex protagonist and his painful journey is worth […]

FOREVER: 67% - BITTERSWEET

FOREVER: 67% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET From a theatrical perspective, unmodulated rage works best in small doses; too much of it stuns the senses. Subtler moments, as when she confesses her dreams of marrying the Irish cop who was kind to her after her rape, can be more effective. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET Forever concludes with the death […]

NICE THINGS: 75% - BITTERSWEET

NICE THINGS: 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Director Elina de Santos turns in a polished production (on Sephanie Kerley Schwartz’s sleek, sliding-panel set), but the play’s meandering pace and easy affirmations undercut both the energy and the urgency of Melocchi’s message — namely, how the basic struggle for economic survival can bring home the distant tragedy of foreign war. Bill Raden […]

THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL (AHMANSON THEATRE): 97% - SWEET

THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL (AHMANSON THEATRE): 97% – SWEET

SWEET Ultimately, what makes this harrowing “Trip” endurable, even uplifting, is Carrie’s hard-won humor and wisdom, and the peace she is able to make with her own unhappiness before she is caught and marched back to Houston. “There are worse things,” she dryly retorts when the sheriff reflects on her childhood friend’s “lonely death alone […]

BRONIES! THE MUSICAL: 100% - SWEET

BRONIES! THE MUSICAL: 100% – SWEET

SWEET The charming musical-in-the-rough that was Bronies: The Musical at this past summer’s Hollywood Fringe Festival has since been polished into the sparklingly rainbow-hued gem now getting its official World Premiere Production at the Third Street Theatre. Simply put, Bronies: The Musical is the feel-best show in town. Steven Stanley – StageSceneLA SWEET Under the […]

KISS ME, KATE (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 89% - SWEET

KISS ME, KATE (PASADENA PLAYHOUSE): 89% – SWEET

SWEET “Let’s Make a Deal’s” Wayne Brady as the lead in a revival of “Kiss Me, Kate”: It almost sounds like an especially wacky draft in some fantasy stunt-casting league for theater directors. Sheldon Epps of the Pasadena Playhouse has not only made it happen, he has used it as the inspiration for an ingenious […]

COCK: 95% - SWEET

COCK: 95% – SWEET

SWEET The ideal convergence of Mike Bartlett’s incredibly realistic script vividly emoted by the very talented four member cast, as tightly directed by Cameron Watson, make for a totally engrossing 90 minutes. Gil Kaan – BroadwayWorld SWEET Only a highly talented group of actors could deliver the play’s potent message, and the cast at the […]

EQUIVOCATION (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 89% - SWEET

EQUIVOCATION (THEATRICUM BOTANICUM): 89% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET And while Peebler and his muscular ensemble prove expert at seductively selling Cain’s quasi-historical premise, his audience-flattering allusions and lively turns of phrase, it does not take long for the troubling hollowness masked by such glibness to make itself felt. Perhaps the most problematic aspect of the entire enterprise is Cain’s primary suspense device […]

THE LIFE AND SORT OF DEATH OF ERIC ARGYLE (SON OF SEMELE): 90% - SWEET

THE LIFE AND SORT OF DEATH OF ERIC ARGYLE (SON OF SEMELE): 90% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET I teetered early on the verge of boredom, staved off by the fine production until the last twenty minutes, the end a foregone conclusion in a play that just wouldn’t stop chattering. Jason Rohrer – Stage and Cinema SWEET Eventually there’s a twist to the story that, along with the play’s heavy exposition, did […]

TRYING (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 100% - SWEET

TRYING (INTERNATIONAL CITY THEATRE): 100% – SWEET

SWEET What the script lacks in surprises, it makes up for in its nuanced, beautifully written portrait of Biddle, an inestimable gift to an actor, and one that the wonderful Abatemarco, under the skillful direction of John Henry Davis, exploits to the fullest. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET Long Beach’s International City Theatre (ICT) […]

REASONS TO BE PRETTY (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 75% - BITTERSWEET

REASONS TO BE PRETTY (GEFFEN PLAYHOUSE): 75% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET Director Randall Arney deftly captures every nuance in the relationships and their unfolding. He keeps the comedy flowing, the realizations only gradually emerging. And he has assembled a terrific cast, knowing and expert. Neal Weaver – ArtsInLA BITTERSWEET It isn’t a bad play, by any means. The set design is detailed and nails the […]

VISIONARY MAN: 73% - BITTERSWEET

VISIONARY MAN: 73% – BITTERSWEET

SWEET “Visionary Man” currently at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood’s Theatre Row is a powerful, brilliant yet warm and fun show depicting the amazing life of the fascinating materially poor but spiritually rich Georgia dirt farmer turned world renown painter J. B. Murray. Ron Irwin – LA Examiner SWEET Director Tom Coleman, who co-wrote the […]

THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT: 78% - SWEET

THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT: 78% – SWEET

SWEET There’s a lot to enjoy in this romantic comedy and it’s a show you might just fall in love with. Sandro Monetti – Thespian Thoughts BITTER It’s all been done before, and no amount of frantic running in and out of doors is going to bring this material back to life. Kurt Gardner – […]

THE BROTHERS SIZE (FOUNTAIN THEATRE): 97% - SWEET

THE BROTHERS SIZE (FOUNTAIN THEATRE): 97% – SWEET

SWEET The battle over Oshoosi’s fate plays out with thrilling immediacy in this staging by Shirley Jo Finney, who also directed “In the Red and Brown Water” at the Fountain. She is ably assisted by Hana S. Kim’s evocative, abstract set, Ameenah Kaplan’s powerful choreography, Peter Bayne’s original music arranged by Brenda Lee Eager, and […]

HIT: 80% - SWEET

HIT: 80% – SWEET

BITTER The new play Hit by Alice Tuan, currently playing Los Angeles Theatre Center, unevenly shifts from hard-hitting drama to black comedy to avant-garde theater yet never makes clear its intentions. And though the actors are skilled professionals, they are not able to make the script’s unlikable characters relatable. Jonas Schwartz – TheaterMania BITTERSWEET Still, […]

UNORGANIZED CRIME: 88% - SWEET

UNORGANIZED CRIME: 88% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET The ending, though bold, is disappointing: There’s the sense that D’Aquila wasn’t quite sure what to do with his entertaining characters once he’d gotten them all onstage. His writing and performance make Gino, especially, a sympathetic and interesting antihero who may deserve a better story than he gets. Margaret Gray – LA Times SWEET […]

FIVE MILE LAKE (SOUTH COAST REP): 85% - SWEET

FIVE MILE LAKE (SOUTH COAST REP): 85% – SWEET

BITTERSWEET Rachel Bonds’ new drama about small-town concerns is promising but needs fleshing out. Paul Hodgins – OC Register SWEET Regardless of the flaws, Bonds does prove that she is a match for her SCR contemporaries on the Argyros stage. Hopefully, she will create another draft that will result in Five Mile Lake fulfilling its […]

EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH: 82% - SWEET

EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH: 82% – SWEET

SWEET The performances, particularly of the two leads, are confident, nuanced and memorable. And the rich sensory feast Kubzansky and her team have served up — which also includes lighting by Jeremy Pivnick, sound by John Zalewski and witty props by John Burton — is a powerful reminder of why beauty, heartless though it may […]

WHITE MARRIAGE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 75% - BITTERSWEET

WHITE MARRIAGE (ODYSSEY THEATRE): 75% – BITTERSWEET

BITTERSWEET Performances from the strong 11-member company are first rate, and Sossi directs his cast to play the lengthy, absurdist drama for maximum laughs. Yet there is a dark and disturbing undercurrent flowing beneath the allegorical farce that only fully emerges in the play’s final, devastating moments. What’s missing throughout is a sense of rising […]